Wellness RX: How to Make Time for Exercise with a Busy Schedule


It can be challenging to prioritize and make time for exercise when you have a busy schedule.  With so many demands in life – how do you fit in one more time commitment?

Exercise is one of those things that has so many positive benefits that it’s worth the challenge.  When you have a consistent exercise routine, your health and immunity improve and you spend less time getting sick!  You’ll also have more energy to get through your day and the creativity to solve your challenges.  

That said,  it’s worth the investment to figure out how to make time for exercise with a busy schedule. Here’s how: 

Create a Schedule

First things first – if exercise is a priority, you can’t leave it up to chance and expect that it will just fall into your calendar.  You must block off time for exercise, just like you would any work meeting or doctor’s appointment.  

The best way to do this is to look at your schedule at the beginning of each week. Identify what blocks of time are available to fit in exercise.  Some things to consider are travel time if you’re going to a gym and even the time it takes to get dressed and prepped for your workout.  Once you find your best times to workout, block off the time on your calendar and stick to it! 

Go for Real Over Ideal

Be realistic about the time you have available to devote to exercise.  Constantly committing to an overly ambitious schedule that’s impossible to do can backfire on you.  Soon, you won’t be motivated at all to schedule your workouts.  It’s easier to add extra workouts later on rather than experience frustration and disappointment if you can’t follow through.

Also, be sure to have a backup plan in place.  Life can throw you a curveball at any moment.  Have extra time slots set up in your calendar in case you have to  move a workout to another day and time.  It’s better to hope for the best, but plan for the worst so you’re always covered!

Be Flexible with Your Workouts and Your Schedule

Keep in mind some exercise is always better than no exercise.  Sometimes you must be flexible with the time you spend working out so you can get in some kind of movement!  

The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate to intense aerobic activity each week.  Look at the total time you spend exercising each week.  You may compromise and spend less time exercising on one day and more time on another day.  

Another way to be flexible with exercise is to break up bouts of movement into chunks throughout the day.  For example, if your goal is to walk 30 minutes you could divide that into two 15-minute walks or three 10-minute walks.  

Do you have time during a lunch break to fit in some steps?  What about after dinner?  It may be easier to break away from whatever you’re doing for shorter periods of time.  If you take time to plan your exercise in advance you’ll find a way to make it work!

Combine Exercise with Other Commitments

Sometimes fitting exercise into a busy schedule requires creativity!  Exercise doesn’t always have to happen as a stand-alone activity.  You can combine it with other activities to maximize your time.

For example, can you take a call while you go for a walk?  Perhaps you can get on a spin bike or the treadmill while you listen in on a meeting.  Combine work tasks with steady-state forms of cardio like walking, biking, or using cardio equipment to fit in exercise.

Another way to exercise is to pair it with errands or the kids’ activities.  If you’re heading to the grocery store – get extra steps by parking further away in the parking lot.  Use the stairs instead of the escalator.  

Also, if your kids have sports practice at a field – go for a walk while practice is happening.  Find ways to fit in exercise with other time commitments.  Think outside of the box!!

Get Outside Help

Part of making exercise a priority may include outsourcing jobs to others.  This can be as simple as recruiting a family member to help with dinner preparations.  Maybe you get help with childcare from a relative or take advantage of Tot Spot babysitting at your localYouFit Gyms. Or, order your meals from a meal service like Fresh Meal Plan so you spend less time preparing a healthy meal.

Determine what an ideal exercise schedule would look like .  Then put a plan in action to delegate tasks that someone or something else can help you with.  Once you see how much time you can free up with a little bit of help – it’s possible to see how you can make time for exercise.

Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.  If it’s a priority for you – make time in your schedule.  Be flexible and get creative if you need to and don’t be shy about asking for help!  Remember – exercise benefits you, but also helps you be the best version of yourself.  It’s worth the effort to make time for exercise, even with a busy schedule!

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